To Robo-Corey, With Love

Sigh. Deep inside, I think I knew this moment would come. But now that it’s finally here, there’s something about it that’s just so bone crushingly, spirit sappingly, mind-numbingly, bowel shakingly, gut-churningly, soul slappingly predictable that it simply can’t be allowed to pass without comment. When news broke that you’re going to robo-call a million households and tell them that the sky’s about to fall in, the first thing that entered my mind was: but of course!

My question wasn’t why you were about to impose your dulcet tones on unwitting households across the nation, disrupting countless dinners and re-runs of The Bachelorette. Not at all. My question was: why hasn’t this happened sooner? Now that you’ve declared your intentions to verbally spam pretty much the entire country, I’m going to be desperately disappointed if I pick up the phone and it isn’t you. Already I’ve hung up on my father just in case you were trying to call.

Because, dear Corey, we deserve it. We, as a nation, should hear your mellifluous voice every time we answer the phone. That’s because we’re all in need of a good, stiff talking too. Then and only then will we see good, old-fashioned common sense take it rightful place as the thing that binds together, and drags us forward into the past. I only hope that this is the beginning of some long-overdue diversification on your part. I can see Corey Bernardi GPS systems or perhaps you as the new Siri, but instead of offering to help, you’d let us know why we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Which, I think, could be useful.

My only hope is that this isn’t a one off. Used well, Robo-Corey could become our very own homegrown version of ‘Rick rolling’, but instead of unexpected bursts of ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, we’d be treated to a treatise on how the world’s going to hell in a handcart and life, in general, is completely in the toilet. Whether at home or at work, I think we should all get used to the idea that, any time, any one of us might be totally Bernardied each time we answer the phone.

I am a little disappointed though. That you’re not making a million phone calls personally and have outsourced the heavy lifting to a robot is a total letdown. If nothing else, it limits the opportunity for meaningful dialogue. In fact, the whole robo-call thing is more or less the ideological equivalent of a hit and run. Granted, I appreciate the irony. To complain about the prospect of having to deal with a mechanical, heartless piece of machinery that doesn’t listen to reason or Corey Bernardi ignores the fact that it may be difficult to spot the difference.

But credit where credit is due. By this action, you have thrown down the gauntlet to the nation’s musicians and DJs. I can only wonder how long it will be before your recorded message is sampled and turned into a remix that sets the country’s dance floors alight. Personally speaking, I think it would sound marvelous as a spoken-word breakdown in the middle of Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’. I find it oddly comforting. The idea that your message should be sampled, cut up and repackaged and danced to by young people with their shirts off is a truly glorious thing.

Not that there aren’t risks. What if Robo-Corey goes rogue? It’s not too hard to imagine the digital Bernardi going all HAL 9000 on us and refusing to obey logic. (Not dissimilar to the actual Corey in that respect.) In fact, I can see computer-Corey breaking free of its digital shackles and roaming the streets, flipping cars, crushing post boxes and destroying ‘Yes’ advocates with his laser beam eyes. Before long, techno-Corey rule over all of us, a terrifying technological overlord who makes Kim Jong-un look laidback in comparison.

Perhaps I’m getting slightly ahead of myself. Before computer Corey rises up to seize the reigns of power, there’s still the matter of these phone calls. As I understand it, the computer will ask people to indicate which way they intend to vote in the marriage equality survey. Chances are, those that disagree with you will never make it that far through the phone call. Meaning that the only people who’ll follow the prompts all the way to the bitter end are those that agree with you. It’d be disappointing if this was groundwork intended to challenge the legitimacy of the result in the event that that it doesn’t go your way. Perhaps I’m being cynical. Or maybe I’ve simply learned to be wary of technology ever since I saw ‘Electric Dreams’ as a teenager and was subsequently scarred for life.

As much as I’m looking forward to being robo-spammed by you, I’d rather talk to you directly. Because, dear Corey, I’m a little disappointed in you. Ever since you split off to become Australia’s misery-guts in chief, I feel that your outlook has been unforgivably bleak. There’s just no call for that kind of pessimism. People are, at heart, optimistic I think. So my quite human and not at all robotic message to you is simple: surprise me. See the best in people. See potential, see commitment, see optimism. See human nature as something more good than bad. I dare you.